A thousand years ago, they used to think there wouldn’t be much water in space, and we’ll all be stuck out here in a barren desert, sending home for bottled oceans.
Well, fortunately not. There’s plenty – more water than there is just about anything else worth digging up outside a gas giant. It’s just nowhere near the places where you actually need the damn stuff, which is where we come in.
We being, first, the Initiative’s tanker, Adorably Aqueous, keeping station about a mile off and waiting to load up with 32,000 tons of water for the thirsty habs between here and Talentar high orbit;
Being, second, the dozen or so automated Seredháïc-class ice-miners sitting around down here on Syntherum, big 160-ton water-blimps with drive, drill, and ancillary equipment all packed into their tiny gondolas. They chop through the dusty crust of the ‘roid, pump steam down to melt the ice and slurp the water back. Shuffling back and forth between here and the tanker, they get it filled up in just a few hours, quick and clean.
And being, third, myself, Cathál Rian-ith-Ríëlle, hydrodynamic engineer, waterwright, and now spacer, with my candle and my trusty wrench.
Because where you have water, you have pipes, and where you have pipes, you have leaks, blockages, and all the rest.
Even in space, that means you need a plumber.